When we started on our second day of traveling, there was no rush to get to on the road, because we were near the finish line of getting to our destination... only 2.5-3 hours away... nothing compared to the 8 hours we conquered the day before. We fueled up the next morning with a big breakfast, from the hotel and then made our way back to the room. While the girls took a quick bath, I packed up our small overnight bag and checked the room to make sure we weren't leaving anything behind and gave Finn a very long nursing session. Once the girls were out of the tub, and getting dressed, I packed up the truck, and then we checked out. We tanked up, and hit the road shortly after.
Rule #3- Stop for the fun stuff. The more "fun" stops that you can hack on a road trip, the more memorable the trip becomes. It's SUPER easy to want to keep at the driving, as an adult... because we just "want to get there"... but for kids, that's just not in the forefront of their minds. When I mapped out our route to get my friend's house in El Paso, Texas... I could have gone 3 different ways.... but by going one specific route, I was able to meet up with a friend during the first leg of the trip (posted on Part 2) and was able to take the kids to a very special surprise stop on the second day. Adding the element of a surprise, is always a "hit" in our family...
As soon as we were on the road, I started to tell them how we would be stopping for a surprise in exactly 1.5 hours. I shared with them a story... of how Daddy, Mommy, Aunt Jenny, Aunt Courtney, and a dear friend were at this surprise place 11 years ago. Charlotte proclaimed, "WOAHHHHH that's a long time ago." Yup... yup, it sure is. When we were about a mile out from the stop, I shared with them the story:
"11 years ago Mommy, Daddy, Aunt Jenny, Aunt Courtney and a friend were driving in New Mexico... it's where Daddy was living and working before he married Mommy and moved to Florida... and we all went out to visit him during our spring break. We were driving down to Carlsbad, NM to visit the caverns, and we stopped at this little spot for some apples and salsa, 'Tom and Pam Runyan Ranch'. And when we got out of the car, out from under this house came a little orange scraggly kitty. He flopped down right in front of our feet, rolled over and wanted his belly rubbed. Mommy went in to buy some salsa... and when she came out, Daddy (who wasn't a fan of kitties at the time) had the little orange kitty in a brown paper sack, ready to bring him home. We named him Runyan, after the name of this ranch. And boy has he traveled the world. But this is where he came from... where he was born, and Mommy wanted you to see it."
Charlotte was SO excited. She couldn't believe it. She of course asked if Runyan's Mommy was still there. Low and behold, Runyan's Mommy is at the owner's house, who doesn't live there anymore, but in a town down the road 20 miles. She had another litter not too long ago, and had 2 orange kitties in that one. We laughed with the worker as we shared stories of our crazy cantaloupe eating kitty who would have a crazy amount of stamps in his passport, if he had one. The neat part, is that they added a petting zoo element to the ranch, that they didn't have before. The girls were able to feed the goats, I was able to feed Finn and let him stretch for a bit, and I picked up a bunch of salsa and honey to take along.
Pit stops like this, are the perfect "breaks" for little ones. They can run around, get out any energy, and grab some fresh air. They get the kids excited for the rest of the drive... and what's to come.